I've come across a question where me and my teacher disagree on what is the correct answer for a GRE reading comprehension question.
First, here is the passage:
...Before feminist literary criticism emerged in the 1970s, the nineteenth-century United States writer Fanny Fern was regarded by most critics (when considered at all) as a prototype of weepy sentimentalism - a pious, insipid icon of conventional American culture. Feminists reclamations of Fern, by contrast, emphasize her nonsentimental qualities, particularly her sharply humorous social criticism. Most feminist scholars find it difficult to reconcile Fern's sardonic social critiques with her effusive celebrations of many conventional values. Attempting to resolve this contradiction, Harris concludes that Fern employed flowery rhetoric strategically to disguise her subversive goals beneath apparent conventionality. However, Tompkins proposes an alternative view of sentimentality itself, suggesting that sentimental writing could serve radical, rather than only conservative ends by swaying readers emotionally, moving them to embrace social change.
Now the question:
Q. It can be inferred from the passage that Tompkins would be most likely to agree with which of the following about the critics mentioned in the passage?
A) They accurately characterize the overall result Fern is aiming to achieve.
B) They are not as dismissive of Fern as some feminist critics have suggested.
C) They exaggerate the extent to which Fern intended her writing to serve a social purpose.
D) They wrongly assume that sentimental must be a pejorative term.
E) They fail to recognize the role that sentimental rhetoric plays to reader's emotions.
What do YOU think is the correct answer?
I chose E), but my teacher says the correct answer is D)
I disagree with my teacher because, clearly, the critics were dismissive about the strong sentimentality of Fern's works; they were not making wrong assumptions about the term sentimental. If anything, they failed to appreciate the function of the sentimentality, according to Tompkins. I can't grasp the notion that those critics made wrong "assumptions" about sentimentality as a term... but my teacher argues that since critics were negative about sentimentality of Fern's work, D) is the correct answer.
My teacher also says E) could be the better answer if the question compared Harris and Tompkins, since Harris asserted that the role of sentimentality was to mask Fern's goals. What do you think? What are your opinions?